It was love at first sight.
Quentin fell in love with Maureen the moment he set eyes on her. She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen and was perfect in every shape and form. The shocked expression on Maureen’s face when he first introduced himself had not in the least put him off.
Quentin could not remember which of his friends it was that had organised the blind date, but he had a lot of thanking to do. He was sure a few pints down the local pub would be a nice way to say how very grateful he was for the introduction to Maureen.
He saw a wonderful future ahead for both Maureen and himself, although the thought of getting married, at this stage, was probably a little bit too ahead of its time. Besides, he hadn’t met Maureen’s parents yet and, whilst his father had taken a shine to Maureen, he wasn’t so sure what his mother thought.
Three months later, as Maureen sat on the only chair in Quentin’s bedroom, Quentin couldn’t take his eye off her as he got ready for their night out. He had promised her a spectacular evening and pretended he could read her mind as he looked into her big blue eyes.
Going down to The Legend of Oily Johnny’s pub was probably not Maureen’s idea of a spectacular night out, thought Quentin. She’d, in all probability, rather spend an evening in with him. However, considering how well he’d looked after her since they had first met, she wouldn’t want to spoil his fun down the pub, would she? After all, the rest of his friends would be there and even if some of their so-called female friends only ever seemed to laugh at her, Quentin always made sure he looked after her and told her that he loved her at the end of every night.
He knew, too, that she’d even had to refuse several advances and a little bit too much attention from his best friend, Duncan Donuts, but Quentin knew that Maureen only had eyes for him, and nobody else.
“The white one or the blue one?” asked Quentin, as he looked over to Maureen. “Which one looks the best on me?
Holding both shirts to his chest, Quentin paused for a moment. “No need to answer, Maureen. I’ll wear the blue one, so it matches your beautiful eyes. We’re gonna knock ‘em dead tonight. I’m so lucky to have found somebody like you.”
Forty minutes later, Maureen was sat in the bar of The Legend of Oily Johnny. The place was packed out. There had never been so many people crammed into it before, but then there had never been a darts match offering a prize of a Valentine’s romantic weekend for two, in Paris, before. No wonder it was so busy.
Whilst Quentin knew that Maureen didn’t play darts, because he knew she thought it a rather dangerous sport, he knew she was happy to watch him throw the arrows towards the board. Every time the referee, Horace Cope, a man who believed he could foretell the future, shouted out ‘one hundred and eighty’ when he threw the arrows, Quentin knew that he and Maureen were one step nearer to going to Paris. They’d never been to Paris before, although Quentin often talked about going there.
Gladys Boise, a party girl who was a little bit too free and loose for most people’s liking, sat down next to Maureen just as the darts match was coming to its climactic end.
Forcing Maureen to move to an empty chair, Gladys did all she could to try and put Quentin off from scoring double eighteen to win the match and the trip to Paris. She wanted her radio DJ boyfriend, Mike Raffone, who was also a keen karaoke singer, to win the match. Mike only needed to score a double five to win, but here was Quentin, with his final dart, only needing to score a double eighteen.
The bar became strangely quiet as Quentin lined up his dart. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Maureen, who had now stood up and was just to the left of the dartboard.
Maureen was looking so sexy this evening and the thought of what lay ahead after the darts match, when they got home, started to make Quentin’s blood pressure rise. He had to win the trip to Paris, if not for him, then for the woman who had brought him so much pleasure over the last three months.
The shirt Quentin had chosen to wear was the perfect fit, and he felt like a million dollars in it. This was going to be his night. This was going to be Maureen’s night. This was going to be their night.
As the first bead of sweat trickled down his back, Quentin pulled his hand back slightly before flicking it towards the dartboard. However, just before leaving the gentle grip of his two fingers and thumb, Gladys let out an almighty sneeze causing Quentin to lose concentration.
As the whole bar held their breath, Quentin watched in horror as the dart moved in slow motion towards Maureen. The shocked expression on Maureen’s face told the regulars of the pub, that the dart was not going to hit its intended target of the double eighteen slot. Instead, they watched in disbelief as the dart made its way towards the woman who had brought so much pleasure into Quentin’s life.
“Noooooooooo!” shouted Quentin, as the dart made contact with Maureen’s left breast while, at the same time, huge smiles developed across the faces of Gladys Boise and Mike Raffone.
For a few moments, all eyes were on Maureen who had not flinched. You could have heard one of Gladys’ false eyelashes fall to the floor as everyone in the bar held their breath. Then, to the complete shock of some of the customers in the bar, everyone watched as Maureen gave off a slow hissing sound as she slowly doubled up and bent for-ward towards the floor.
Not even the offer of a puncture repair kit from local plumber, Duane Pipes, could now save the romance of Maureen and Quentin. Inflatable girlfriends were expensive to buy.
Two months later, Quentin had forgotten all about Maureen, after meeting his new girlfriend, Helen Highwater, who had seen it all and survived.
They lived happily ever after.
Story taken from the short story collection More Glimpses – Available on Amazon.
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